ASSIGNMENT: Read 2 Corinthians in your Bible and read the Commentary on 2 Corinthians that you have chosen. Then begin reading the text and textual comments provided by the Professor below.
The Second letter to the Corinthians is the most personal of all Paul’s extant letters. Yet here we have no simple letter; here we have a letter which is intentionally apostolic. That is, as Paul writes this letter he writes it as an apostle in defense of the apostolic office; and in particular, his apostolic office.
When modern people read this letter they must keep in mind its purpose, which was to explain and defend the calling of the preacher (or, more specifically, the apostle). Why are there preachers? What is their purpose? What are they to do? How are they to do it? How can you tell if one is telling you the truth? These are the questions Paul addresses here.
The situation which led up to the composition of this letter can be summed up as follows: Paul visited Corinth and established the Church there. He wrote 1 Corinthians somewhat after he left to continue his work. He then visited Corinth again and was treated very badly by some of the Christians there. In some way or another someone called into question his apostolic authority and his call as a preacher. In response to this insult Paul wrote 2 Corinthians (over a period of some months). While the letter was being composed Paul received word that the Corinthians had changed their minds about him (cf. 2 Co 7:6ff). Yet later Paul recei ved another report frogain called his work into question. It is at this point that Paul writes the very strong (one might even say harsh) chapters 10-13.
Thus, the letter can be seen as written in 3 stages: Ch 1:1 - 7:5 is the first stage and was written when Paul was told that the Corinthians did not believe him to be an apostle. Ch 7:6 - 9:15 were written when Paul received word that the Church had changed its mind and were again in fellowship with him. Finally, Ch 10 -13 were written when Paul again learned that trouble makers in the Church were again calling his work into question.
The notes which follow are based on the Greek text of the epistle and the student is presumed to have a very good knowledge of Greek. The comments will follow immediately on the text which is addressed. As a final note, the astute reader will easily see my dependence on the excellent commentary by Rudolf Bultmann.
1 PauloV apostoloV Cristou Ihsou dia qelhmatoV qeou, The apostle immediately addresses the issue of his apostolic authority. He reminds them that his office was given him by God. If they knew God, they would know this.
kai TimoqeoV o adelfoV, Timothy is the co-writer of the letter, as he was also the co-author of 1 Thessalonians. Whether or not this means that Timothy was the amanuensis remains an open question. It is likely that he was.
th ekklhsia tou qeou th oush en Korinqw, The Church is the eschatological community of God which exists at Corinth. But this letter is not addressed only to Corinth, but to the Church at large, as the next line clearly shows:
sun toiV agioiV pasin toiV ousin en olh th Acaia: Achaia was the territory of Greece in which Corinth was located. This letter is addressed to every church in that territory.
2 cariV umin kai eirhnh apo qeou patroV hmwn kai kuriou Ihsou Cristou. Grace is the typical Greek greeting found in letters while peace is the Hebrew greeting. Paul thus greets both the Jewish and the Gentile believers in the community.
3 EuloghtoV o qeoV kai pathr tou kuriou hmwn Ihsou Cristou, o pathr twn oiktirmwn kai qeoV pashV paraklhsewV, This verse is written in liturgical style. That is, this is the kind of thing which the worship leader would have said at the beginning of the service in the Corinthian churches. The genitive kuriou is attached to both ‘father’ and ‘God’. There are several characterizations of God using the genitive case found in the Pauline epistles: ‘the God of love and hope’; ‘the God of patience and of comfort’; ‘the God of hope’; ‘the God of peace’; and ‘the God of all grace’.
pashV also belongs to the liturgical style. This style raises the personal to the universal and the profane to the realm of the sacred. Thus thanks for Paul’s deliverance (v.10) becomes a praise of God and with that a thanks for the community which benefits from Pauls’ rescue. In other words, Paul and the community are permanently linked together -- whether they like it or not. Finally, we must note that this verse means that all comfort and mercy have their source in God. Those who wish to be merciful or comforting must draw these strengths from God, for He alone possesses them.
4 o parakalwn hmaV This participle describes the fact that it is always God who brings comfort to us (for, after all, the participle is durative).
epi pash th qliyei hmwn, eiV to dunasqai hmaV parakalein touV en pash qliyei dia thV para klhsewV hV parakaloume But the purpose of our being comforted is not that we should simply absorb it; rather we should pass it on to others. We have been rescued from a very specific qliyiV, and not merely some vague ‘affliction’. This means that our experience of comfort furnishes us with the tools with which we can comfort others. One final note on this topic: when we surrender to God we know we are nothing before Him and we thereby become totally dependent on Him. Then, and only then, will we be able to receive His comfort and pass it along to others.
5 oti This is an explicative oti which explains verse 4 completely.
kaqwV perisseuei ta paqhmata tou Cristou eiV hmaV, outwV dia tou Cristou perisseuei kai h paraklhsiV hmwn. For believers, Christ’s suffering and death are not simply facts from the past but a present reality which empowers their lives. Nothing happens to us which has not happened to Him. When we realize our fellowship with him we recognize ourselves to be “new creatures in Christ”.
6 eite de qlibomeqa, uper This uper means ‘in the interest of’ or ‘for’.
thV umwn paraklhsewV This is an objective genitive.
kai swthriaV: eite parakaloumeqa, uper thV umwn paraklhsewV thV energoumenhV en upomonh twn autwn paqhmatwn wn kai hmeiV pascomen. Paul speaks simply as one who was comforted by the grace of God which is known in Christ.
7 kai h elpiV hmwn bebaia uper umwn, eidoteV oti wV koinwnoi este twn paqhmatwn, outwV kai thV paraklhsewV. Paul’s comfort means that he allows himself to be united with the Corinthians. This means that he takes the fellowship seriously. Comfort then means not the taking of suffering away but the recognition that Christian suffering is fellowship with Christ. The result of this suffering is patience. And such patience works itself out in community.
8 Ou gar qelomen umaV agnoein, adelfoi, uper thV qliyewV hmwn thV genomenhV en th Asia, oti kaq uperbolhn uper dunamin ebarhqhmen, wste exaporhqhnai hmaV kai tou zhn: Paul does not envision deliverance from death. Rather, as the following verse demonstrates, death has meaning for the believer.
9 alla autoi en eautoiV to apokrima tou qanatou eschkamen, (eschkamen)- This verb is hardly a genuine perfect; rather it functions as an Aorist. The verb means ‘we have accepted the death sentence’ and not ‘we have received the death sentence’.
ina mh pepoiqoteV wmen ef eautoiV all epi tw qew tw egeironti touV nekrouV: This segment of the verse explains the voluntary renunciation of life which Paul has described. The ina is final and not consecutive. The death sentence Paul passed over himself means simply that he has surrendered himself completely to God.
10 oV ek thlikoutou qanatou errusato hmaV kai rusetai, The one who has utterly surrendered to God receives deliverance as God’s gift.
eiV on hlpikamen (oti) kai eti rusetai, This seems to be a textual doublet.
11 sunupourgountwn kai umwn uper hmwn th dehsei, This is an indirect summons to prayer. Prayer is an act of community; Paul thus urges them to have some sense of community with him.
ina ek pollwn proswpwn to eiV hmaV carisma dia pollwn eucaristhqh uper hmwn. A prayer of thanksgiving should be the goal of their intercessions for him. pollwn here is an objective genitive, and thus and not ex multorum personis as the Vulgate has it. “If the prayer of one for the many is heard in such a way, then how much more the prayer of the many for the one” (Sifre Deuteronomy).
12 H gar kauchsiV hmwn auth estin, And now, all of a sudden, Paul is boasting! But how can one boast of humility without thereby abandoning humility? Paul is here directing his attention to those in Corinth who accuse him of boasting. Paul is here defending himself.
to marturion thV suneidhsewV hmwn, Paul’s boast is that his conscience is clear. Can they say the same? In short, Paul is here refuting the notion that he is an egomaniac. Rather, his conscience is clear in the matter for he knows that he boasts only in what God does and not in what he himself does.
oti en aplothti kai eilikrineia tou qeou, These two nouns form a hendiadys and both denote purity. Paul is pure according to God’s requirement.
(kai) ouk en sofia sarkikh This phrase describes those who are egotistical manipulators. They are cunning, and calculating; and Paul is not one of these! Paul’s integrity is honest and selfless.
all en cariti qeou, Instead of being a cunning manipulator Paul is a person who depends on and lives by the grace of God. In short, he understands his integrity as the gift of God.
anestrafhmen en tw kosmw, perissoterwV de proV umaV. “Certainly you must be aware of this” Paul says to the Corinthians! The term perissoterwV must be taken cum grano salis, for of course Paul has not behaved less genuinely anywhere else. At Corinth Paul was not more honest, but more cautious. Paul boasts in what God has done for him. If God is acting through and for Paul then they must admit that Paul is indeed invested with apostolic authority. Paul boasts, to be sure (as they accuse him); but his boast is not in his own accomplishments (as they accuse him) but in the grace of God.
13 ou gar alla grafomen umin all h a anaginwskete h kai epiginwskete, elpizw de oti ewV telouV epignwsesqe, This means that they simply do not understand Paul. Is it because they do not wish to do so?
14 kaqwV kai epegnwte hmaV apo merouV, The basis of his hope is that they will come to understand him both partially and fully. That is, though now they only partially understand him his prayer is that they will soon understand him completely. He is, after all, their apostle.
oti kauchma umwn esmen kaqaper kai umeiV hmwn en th hmera tou kuriou (hmwn) Ihsou.
15 Kai tauth th pepoiqhsei eboulomhn proteron “First” is here linked to “to you” and not “to come”.
proV umaV elqein, ina deuteran carin schte,. carin denotes “pleasure” or “friendliness”. Paul’s wish was to come to them and be of benefit to them as a friend; but they have put him in the position of having to plan to come to them as an authority. This plan was, however, not carried out.
16 kai di umwn dielqein eiV Makedonian, kai palin apo MakedoniaV elqein proV umaV kai uf umwn propemfqhnai eiV thn Ioudaian. Paul was on his way to Judea with the offering he had collected for the suffering Christians there and wished to stop by Corinth on his way. Again, this plan was not carried out.
17 touto oun boulomenoV mhti ara th elafria ecrhsamhn; h a bouleuoma i kata sarka bouleuomatains two para;;e; rhetorical questions in self defense. He has been carelessly accused and assures them that the only people who can make such an accusation are those who do not possess the Spirit of Christ.
ina h par emoi to Nai nai kai to Ou ou. The ina is epexegetical (or explanatory). Paul means that when he says yes, he means yes and when he says no he means it. He is not unreliable as some have accused him of being; rather he is a man of his word.
18 pistoV de o qeoV oti o logoV hmwn o proV umaV ouk estin Nai kai Ou. The clause here is an oath formula! In verses 17-18 Paul is repulsing the idea that he is unreliable.
19 o tou qeou gar uioV IhsouV CristoV o en umin di hmwn khrucqeiV, di emou kai Silouanou kai Timoqeou, ouk egeneto Nai kai Ou, alla Nai en autw gegonen. Paul, in his varied use of the verb “to be”, here denotes both the mission of Jesus and his presence today. Jesus has always been reliable; and so has Paul. This is the purpose of this implied comparison. By referring to Timothy and Silas, Paul is reminding them that the Gospel he preached to them is the authentic, apostolic Gospel and nothing less. They heard it from Timothy and Silas as well; so if they accuse Paul of falsehood they must also accuse these two men.
20 osai gar epaggeliai qeou, en autw to Nai: dio kai di autou to Amhn tw qew proV doxan di hmwn. The di autou describes Christ as the mediator of prayer; that is, he is the access to God for those who would pray.
21 o de bebaiwn hmaV sun umin eiV Criston kai crisaV hmaV qeoV,
22 o kai sfragisamenoV hmaV kai douV ton arrab wna tou pneumatoV en t This is not a legal description. The intention here is not forensic, but is intended to encourage them to remember the Spirit who abides in the Church’s heart. To be sealed means to be in the owner’s possession. This harks back to their baptism and their inclusion in the community of faith.
23 Egw de martura ton qeon epikaloumai epi thn emhn yuchn, The clause is here a formula of protestation.
oti feidomenoV umwn ouketi hlqon eiV Korinqon. His method and motive has always been on the level. How can they accuse him of hypocrisy?
24 ouc oti kurieuomen umwn thV pistewV, alla sunergoi esmen thV caraV umwn, th gar pistei esthkate. In spite of the accusations leveled at him, he will deny to his death that he is power hungry.
1 ekrina gar emautw touto, to mh palin en luph proV umaV elqein: The en is the equivalent of the Hebrew preposition b which means “with” and thus here means “to bring with”.
2 ei gar egw lupw umaV, kai tiV. This kai tiV means “who then”. o eufrainwn me ei mh o lupoumenoV ex emou; The Corinthian Church is Paul’s source of joy. How can it be possible that he wishes them pain? They are wrong in this assumption.
3 kai egraya touto auto ina mh elqwn luphn scw af wn edei me cairein, pepoiqwV epi pantaV umaV oti h emh cara pantwn umwn estin. The aorist tense of the first verb is an epistolary aorist and refers to the letter he is presently composing. He says what he says here because his object is to communicate joy to them.
4 ek gar pollhV qliyewV kai sunochV kardiaV egraya umin Paul has already had enough grief and wants to have it no more.
dia pollwn dakruwn, dia is a preposition of manner.
ouc ina luphqhte Paul desired a “grief resulting in repentence” and not a “grief” for its own sake.
alla thn agaphn ina gnwte hn ecw perissoterwV eiV umaV. He is obliged to be their apostle and not their judge. The letter, then, is written in love and not from temper or a desire to have revenge. If he were not willing to forgive, he would be opening a door to Satan (cf. v.11).
5 Ei de tiV leluphken, A person in the Church had offended Paul. Is it possible to offend preachers? The answer is a resounding yes! And as preachers are human they will respond to it as any human would. What troubled Paul about this insult was that the community did not unequivocally take his side in the dispute! This leads to all manner of inner doubts and conflicts on the part of the preacher, as it did in Paul.
ouk eme leluphken, alla apo merouV, in a mh epibarw, pantaV ut the whole community which was inconsiderate. epibarw means something like “to exaggerate”.
6 ikanon tw toioutw h epitimia auth h upo twn pleionwn, The majority of the community did, in fact, eventually take Paul’s side and meted out a reprimand to the offending party. Nevertheless a minority of the Church still persisted in opposition to Paul.
7 wste tounantion mallon umaV carisasqai kai parakalesai, mh pwV th perissotera luph katapoqh o toioutoV. But, Paul says, the punishment you have decided upon is sufficient. You need not punish further for my sake.
8 dio parakalw umaV kurwsai eiV auton agaphn: kuroun is a technical term which means “to confirm; or to conclude”.
9 eiV touto gar kai egraya ina gnw thn dokimhn umwn, Paul is capable of demanding obedience, as their apostle.
ei eiV panta uphkooi este.
10 w de ti carizesqe, kagw: The community need not think it must do more to the offending party.
kai gar egw o kecarismai, ei ti kecarismai, di umaV en proswpw Cristou, For Paul the question is one of principle. He forgave because of them and not for himself.
11 ina mh pleonekthqwmen upo tou Satana, If one acts from personal motives, Satan is given the upper hand. One must always act out of love and in this way Satan is always defeated.
ou gar autou ta nohmata agnooumen. We are not unaware of Satan’s schemes; they are quite transparent.
12 wada Troas was the port city of Alexandria-Troas.
eiV to euaggelion tou Cristou, Objective genitive.
kai quraV moi anewgmenhV en kuriw, An “open door” is an open opportunity. See the Rabbinic parallels in Strack-Billerbeck, loc cit.
13 ouk eschka anesin tw pneumati mou The verb is perfect instead of aorist. tw mh eurein me Titon ton adelfon mou, The dative of the infinitive without the preposition occurs only here in the New Testament.
alla apotaxamenoV autoiV exhlqon eiV Makedonian. Paul was so anxious about the situation that he simply abandoned the activity he was engaged in in Troas.
14 Tw de qew cariV A liturgical formula.
tw pantote qriambeuonti hmaV en tw Cristw God allows Paul to work as his apostle. No greater honor can be imagined than that of being included in the work of God. qriambeuein means to “lead in triumphal procession” or “to expose someone to scorn or shame”.
kai thn osmhn thV gnwsewV autou fanerounti di hmwn en panti topw: The preaching in which Paul was engaged was God’s act in Christ. This was his one, constant, theme.
15 oti Cristou euwdia esmen tw qew The word of God is not a “timeless truth” but a living reality which confronts the hearer with a concrete call to decision. Paul thus is charged to confront his hearers with God’s claim on their lives.
en toiV swzomenoiV kai en toiV apollumenoiV, The proclamation has a dual effect, as described here.
16 ainoiV men osmh eosmh ek zwhV eiV zwhn. kai proV tauta tiV ikanoV; “Who can be the bearer of such a word?” is the question Paul asks in all humility. The answer is given in the next verse.
17 ou gar esmen wV oi polloi kaphleuonteV ton logon tou qeou, all wV ex eilikrineiaV, all wV ek qeou katenanti qeou en Cristw laloumen. kaphleuein means to be a small dealer; a hawker of spiritual goods. Paul refuses to falsify the gospel in order to make capital of it. Paul is not a charlatan, in spite of the claims of his opponents.
1 Arcomeqa palin eautouV sunistanein; This clause indicates that Paul was well accustomed to such treatment; that is, he was used to hearing reproaches from some of them.
h mh crhzomen wV tineV sustatikwn epistolwn proV umaV h ex umwn; He has no need of letters from them, as his opponents do! He can recommend himself.
2 h epistolh hmwn umeiV este, eggegrammenh en taiV kardiaiV hmwn, ginwskomenh kai anaginwskomenh upo pantwn anqrwpwn: “You are my letter of recommendation to all men” says Paul to the church.
3 faneroumenoi oti este epistolh Cristou diakonhqeisa uf hmwn, On the notion of letters written by God to a human cf. Eze 2:9ff, Rev 2-3, Herm visio II,1-2, and Odes of Solomon 23.
eggegrammenh ou melani alla pneumati qeou zwntoV, The wonderful power of God is contrasted with the letters of his opponents which are written with ink and papyrus.
ouk en plaxin liqinaiV all en plaxin kardiaiV sarkinaiV. Paul also contrasts his “letter of recommendation” with the Old Testament law. His Gospel is internal and not a set of external rules. When one is apprehended by that Gospel one is motivated from within to live for God and not from an external rule.
4 Pepoiqhsin His boldness is towards God, in reference to God, and not “in God”. de toiauthn ecomen dia tou Cristou proV ton qeon.
5 ouc oti af eautwn ikanoi esmen logisasqai ti wV ex eautwn, all h ikanothV hmwn ek tou qeou, Paul here declares his independence! He does not need them to be an apostle- but they need him to be their apostle. Human weakness and divine power are contrasted here.
6 oV kai ikanwsen hmaV diakonouV kainhV diaqhkhV, ou grammatoV alla pneumatoV: The genitive here is a genitive of quality. The contrast between “letter” and “spirit” demonstrates that the Spirit is the power of God while the letter is what one attempts to do on his own strength.
gar gramma apoktennei, to de pneuma zwopoiei. This expresses Paul’s idea that living in ones own power leads to death while following God’s spirit leads to life.
7 Ei de h diakonia tou qanatou en grammasin entetupwmenh liqoiV egenhqh en doxh, wste mh dunasqai atenisai touV uiouV Israhl eiV to proswpon MwusewV dia thn doxan tou proswpou autou thn katargoumenhn, This sentence is designed to describe the wonder and majesty of God’s glory. This glory is particularly made manifest in the new covenant. According to Jewish tradition, the Jews could not look at Moses because they had sinned with the golden calf.
8 pwV ouci mallon h diakonia tou pneumatoV estai en doxh; estai is the future of logical inference. When Paul speaks of the glory of the new covenant he has in mind the wondrous blessings of salvation.
9 ei gar th diakonia thV katakrisewV doxa, pollw mallon perisseuei h diakonia thV dikaiosunhV doxh. “Righteousness” is not the result of the verdict of God -- it is the verdict itself; the verdict of “not guilty”.
10 kai gar ou dedoxastai to dedoxasmenon en toutw tw merei eineken thV uperballoushV doxhV: The old covenant had a glory unique to itself; the new covenant likewise has a glory unique to itself. Yet the glory of the old is nothing in face of the glory of the new. Does this suggest that Paul believes that the Jews may live in the old covenant and still have a relationship to God; but that they should realize the glory of the new is greater and thereby be induced to adopt it?
11 ei gar to katargoumenon dia doxhV, pollw mallon to menon en doxh. The manner of here described.
According to Windisch, the following section (3:7-18) is a Midrash on Exodus 34:29-35. This is most likely correct; and the text is made much clearer if this is kept in view.
12 EconteV oun toiauthn elpida pollh parrhsia crwmeqa, This is not some magical event- rather it is the act of God on behalf of the believer. “Boldness” was originally a political concept, denoting the right to say anything, the title to express an idea in public, a right which the slave does not possess. This boldness is expressed in prayer.
13 kai ou kaqaper MwushV etiqei kalumma epi to proswpon autou, proV to mh atenisai touV uiouV Israhl eiV to teloV tou katargoumenou. The old covenant is described as a “veiling” in contrast to the “boldness” evidenced by the new covenant. 8
14 alla epwrwqh ta nohmata autwn. acri gar thV shmeron hmeraV to auto kalumma epi th anagnwsei thV palaiaV diaqhkhV menei mh anakaluptomenon, oti en Cristw katargeitai: The phrase mh anakaluptomenon is a subjunctive participle which means “it remains without being lifted”. The oti is causal. The veiling veils that which is passing away. Its end is near! Paul’s interpretation of the Old Testament is, from a historical-critical perspective, quite inappropriate. The texts he quotes are taken out of context and made to apply to Paul’s new way of thinking. Paul is, in short, practicing “reader-oriented” criticism.
15 all ewV shmeron hnika an anaginwskhtai MwushV kalumma epi thn kardian autwn keitai: The veil does not really lie over the object -- it lies over the subject! uper
16 epistreyh proV kurion, periaireitai to kalumma. Paul sees in Moses’ activities in Exodus 34 the pre-cognition of a new covenant which will be described in verse 18.
17 o de kurioV to pneuma estin: ou de to pneuma kuriou, eleuqeria. Turning to the Lord means turning to the spirit, and by implication, away from the letter. Thus the Christian proclamation of the Lord is in the strictest manner the “work of the spirit” or the work which the spirit does.
18 hmeiV de panteV anakekalummenw proswpw thn doxan kuriou katoptrizomenoi thn authn eikona metamorfoumeqa apo doxhV eiV doxan, kaqaper apo kuriou pneumatoV. A Christian self awareness is expressed here. The Christian is called upon to examine him or herself; in this way libertinism in the guise of spirtuality can and will be avoided. We are changed into that which we behold! And this transformation takes place in stages without cessation.
1 Dia touto, This clause connects what follows with what comes before, in 3:7-18.
econteV thn diakonian tauthn, kaqwV hlehqhmen, eleoV means “pity” or “mercy”.
ouk egkakoumen, “we do not despair”, “we do not draw in our horns”, or “we are not cowardly.
2 alla apeipameqa ta krupta thV aiscunhV, If aiscunh means “shame”, but the genitive is explanatory, then the meaning is “the secrets of being ashamed, that is, a shame which must be hidden”.
mh peripatounteV en panourgia mhde dolounteV ton logon tou qeou, If Paul defends himself here by repudiating mean motives, then of course he does so only on the basis of the description of his apostolate as a “ministry of the new covenant” which excludes all insincere motives.
alla th fanerwsei thV alhqeiaV sunistanonteV eautouV proV pasan suneidhsin anqrwpwn enwpion tou qeou. The teaching of right doctrine proves his attitude. For, after all, truth is aprehended by the conscience rather than by reflection.
3 ei de kai estin kekalummenon to euaggelion hmwn, Our Gospel is contrasted with the gospel of Christ because the apostle’s preaching is at issue here -- the Gospel of Christ as Paul proclaims it.
en toiV apollumenoiV estin kekalummenon, They will not surrender their own security and thus they remove themselves from both reality and the Lord!
4 en oiV o qeoV tou aiwnoV toutou etuflwsen ta nohmata twn apistwn This is not an example of determinism, but a statement designed to make clear the seriousness of their decision. What is at stake is either God or Satan! There is no third possibility.
eiV to mh augasai ton fwtismon tou euaggeliou thV doxhV tou Cristou, oV estin eikwn tou qeou. The world is evil. People experience its evil every day. They lose grasp of themselves and fall prey to the seduction of the world. Those who are being destroyed and those who do not believe are one and the same.
5 ou gar eautouV khrussomen alla Ihsoun Criston kurion, eautouV de doulouV umwn dia Ihsoun. This is the summary of Paul’s preaching. How can they deny its truth and his apostolic call? He is their servant in delivering this message. How can they be so ungrateful?
6 oti o qeoV o eipwn, Ek skotouV fwV lamyei, oV elamyen en taiV kardiaiV hmwn proV fwtismon thV gnwsewV thV doxhV tou qeou en proswpw ( Ihsou) Cristou. Paul spreads the word of God, the truth, and the knowledge made possible by it. God has sent light into our hearts to guide us on our way; so that God is known and glorified. This verse serves as the basis for what was said in verse 5.
7 Ecomen de ton qhsauron touton en ostrakinoiV skeuesin, This denotes the frail, fragile, mortal person. The weak, transitory body. “The Daughter of the Emperor Hadrian said to Rabbi Jehoshua ben Hananiah - that is, in reference to his scholarship -- ‘Ah, such lordly wisdom in such an ugly vessel!’”
ina h uperbolh thV dunamewV h tou qeou kai mh ex hmwn: The misconception that faith depends on the brilliant, fascinating shape of the preacher must be guarded against. Preaching is effective ex opera operato.
8 en panti qlibomenoi all ou stenocwroumenoi, aporoumenoi all ouk exaporoumenoi, This naturally belongs to the antitheses in the following verse. The temporal aspect receives the majority of force.
9 diwkomenoi all ouk egkataleipomenoi, kataballomenoi all ouk apollumenoi, The “outer man” is the person drawn in faith toward the future, not given with spiritual states or with disposition, but only believed occurences.
10 pantote thn nekrwsin tou Ihsou en tw swmati periferonteV, ina kai h zwh tou Ihsou en tw swmati hmwn fanerwqh. This is actual death, and not to mere mortal danger. The Christian’s suffering is that continual process in which the death of Jesus is at work in the Christian as a continual killing off or continual dying away, such as the “handed over into death” in verse 11.
11 aei gar hmeiV oi zwnteV eiV qanaton paradidomeqa dia Ihsoun, ina kai h zwh tou Ihsou fanerwqh en th qnhth sarki hmwn. We have life in the body; and we face in the present the present working of death. We die while we live.
12 wste o qanatoV en hmin energeitai, h de zwh en umin. This is a seriously drawn conclusion drawn from verse 10-11, and is not mere rhetorical flourish. While the death of Jesus is operative in Paul, the life of Jesus is operative in them.
13 econteV de to auto pneuma thV pistewV, kata to gegrammenon, Episteusa, dio elalhsa, kai hmeiV pisteuomen, dio kai laloumen, We have the very same faith which empowers the scriptural word. Paul exists for others. He exists in a bold freedom from anxiety.
14 eidoteV oti o egeiraV ton kurion Ihsoun kai hmaV sun Ihsou egerei kai parasthsei sun umin. This verse contains the essence of the faith. Jesus’ resurrection provides the basis for our own and the faith which Paul proclaims declares that we will one day be assembled in the presence of God. Thus faith is a present life open towards the future.
15 ta gar panta di umaV, ina h cariV pleonasasa dia twn pleionwn thn eucaristian perisseush Paul’s ultimate motive is thus the Glory of God for whose sake he labors for the community.
16 Dio ouk egkakoumen, all ei kai o exw hmwn anqrwpoV diafqeiretai, all o esw hmwn anakainoutai hmera kai hmera. The “inner man” denotes the authentic person and the contrast derives from the knowledge that man, as he is first of all present to himself and others, is not the authentic man. The outer man is the being subject to death; it is a person seen within the sphere of the flesh and as that which is present in the world. The mode of existence of the inner man is described as a being on the way between a no longer and a not yet. Faith makes one open to the future and lives from out of the future by seizing it anew in the given moment.
17 to gar parautika elafron thV qliyewV hmwn kaq uperbolhn eiV uperbolhn aiwnion baroV doxhV katergazetai hmin, Despondency is quite out of place for the Christian because the misery of the present is nothing in face of the glory to come. This glory is superabundant!
18 mh skopountwn hmwn ta blepomena alla ta mh blepomena: This phrase is a genitive absolute.
ta gar blepomena proskaira, ta de mh blepomena aiwnia. The life of the Christian is not based on sight, but on faith; for the things of faith last and the things of sight pass away.
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